BBC Nepali, 20 March

Some newly-appointed ministers have met the Indian ambassador without officially informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), which has taken a dim view of these meetings. Indian ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, walked into one after another ministry on Monday this week, and each minister sat down with him for unofficial conversations. Nepal issued a diplomatic code of conduct in 2010, discouraging ministers and bureaucrats from meeting with foreign ambassadors without the knowledge of the Foreign Ministry. If ministers and bureaucrats cannot inform the MoFA in advance, they have to later submit notes of their conversations for institutional memory.

The code was issued amidst complaints of ministers and bureaucrats hobnobbing with representatives of foreign countries for personal gain. But ministers have been frequently flouting the code, and this week’s controversial meetings were just the latest example. Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari has defended his conduct, saying he agreed to meet the envoy after the latter dropped in to his office to congratulate him. “That’s it, nothing more,” he said.
Ex-ambassador Jaya Raj Acharya says: “Our political leaders seem to be unaware or do not care about proper diplomatic conduct and its sensitivity.”

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